Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day. Many thanks to fig and the wasp for the beautiful photographs.

fig and the wasp

Duke Gardens, Durham NC.

Violets in the yard… who knew weeds could be lovely?

Duke Gardens, Durham NC.

With the help of street lamps.

PS. With regard to copyright – all images belong to little ol’ me (the wasp) unless otherwise stated. Be kind and give credit where credit is due.

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10 Exciting Things I Can Now Do After Being Featured on “Freshly Pressed”

Hey guys.. still not class time. I’ve become to love blogging even more these days. Every blogger seeks to be featured or Freshly Pressed. I’ve never been featured as a newbie. But I guess it’s quite normal and should be to be happy and even smug when one gets FP. Here’s a post from A Very Busy Mom. She is so sweet to share with us how her feeling and how her blogging life has become after being FP. Hope you enjoy her post and happy blogging!🙂

very VERY busy mom

Imagine opening up your email and instead of just the standard Groupons, spammers, and loads of subjects starting with “Re:” (even though you were sick of reading the original email the first time around), you – Joe Shmoe – see page after page of:

[Joe Shmoe] everybody likes you…

[Joe Shmoe] everybody wants to follow you…

[Joe Shmoe] everybody is commenting about you you YOU…

This exact thing happened to me last Friday. Well, the exact same thing except that instead of “Joe Shmoe” it was for my blog very VERY busy mom. And of course it didn’t actually say “everybody.” I just said that to provide myself a little ego boost.

But I kid you not. I was getting a new email practically every minute.

Apparently a post I wrote last month about obsessing over the high price of gas entitled “($ ÷ Gallon) x (Miles ÷…

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Haha.. you guys. I feel so excited today since I’ve spotted this amazing post by a non-Chinese who is living in the city Ya’an, Sichuan Province, China. Check this out to see his interesting and REALLY true(Except the top one on the list is definitely something that Ya’an peole are good at. Not everyone in China does that. This makes me even jealous of him for living in that beautiful city) post about my lovely country. Hope you guys enjoy it. Learn the Chinese culture as you learn the language…Hmm. Happy learning and have fun, guys!🙂

Instagram Tips and Tricks

Well, this post is not quite related to our Chinese learning topic. But.. I hope you can enjoy this well-organized and clearly delivered post as I do, while learning some really practical tricks of Instagram!!!

her new leaf

I am still obsessed with Instagram – are you? I think it’s a great way to capture small, every-day moments that you might otherwise forget. I love looking back over my photos and remembering when I took them! Here are a few tips for how to make your Instagrams shine.

Use your phone’s camera app to take your photo, then import into Instagram. The built-in camera app has way more capability than the Instagram camera, including zoom, focus, and exposure.

Bonus tip – ever had a photo turn out poorly because your subject was backlit and appeared too dark? On the iPhone, touch and hold your finger on your subject to lock the focus and exposure.

When you bring your photos in from the camera app, you will have the ability to zoom in on your subject – use it! Cut out anything unimportant in the background and showcase the…

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How to say “Love” in Chinese?

Love is a universal and eternal language:

Love can be a homemade sweater from a mother;

Love can be some stern scold from a father;

Love can be a delicious birthday cake with warm, shining candle light from a bunch of friends;

Love can also be a simple sentence “You jump, I jump” from your lover. 

My friend Ada's Birthday Cake

My friend Ada's Birthday Cake

Some of you might still remember the Chinese saying for “I love you” (Click for slow-speed & normal-speed recording), which we learned in our first lesson. Today we will learn how to say “Love” in Chinese while appreciating the classic 1997 film Titanic.

Love is translated as 爱 in Chinese, and the pronunciation for 爱 is very simple. 爱 is pronounced same as the letter “I”.

The 1997 American epic romantic historical disaster film, Titanic, has always been the role model of love for generations. I can say that I grew up with the classic love story between Rose and Jack. 

RMS Titanic was a passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on 15 April 1912 after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton, UK to New York City, US. The sinking of Titanic caused the deaths of 1,514 people in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history. 

Courtesy to Wikipedia_RMS Titanic

Courtesy to Wikipedia_RMS Titanic, 1912

April. 10, 1912 was the day Titanic started its maiden voyage, and April 10, 2012, was the day people commemorate its 100th anniversary by bringing the 3D version of the 1997 film onto screen.

While some are crazy about the 3D version, there are others still appreciating the classic-forever 1997 film. Some people have collected seven deleted scenes from the original film, and I want to share them with you guys today.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find all the seven scenes on YouTube except for the 1st and 4th. However, I will make it up to you by posting the links to the other deleted scenes from a very famous video website in China, tudou.com. (Btw, tudou means “potato” in English. :))

Titanic Deleted Scene Part 1

Titanic Deleted Scene Part 2 (Click for the Video)

Titanic Deleted Scene Part 3 (Click for the Video)

Titanic Deleted Scene Part 4

Titanic Deleted Scene Part 5(Click for the Video)

Titanic Deleted Scene Part 6(Click for the Video)

Titanic Deleted Scene Part 7(Click for the Video)

Now we’ve approached the end of our today’s post. I can’t help ask the same question with Rose, “Can you exchange one life for another?”

Don’t rush to tell me now. I guess we can only find the right answer when the right one comes…

Photoed with Xuan's Magazine

Photoed with Xuan's Magazine

Got more interesting experience with the classic Titanic film to share with us?
Know more love stories?
Your comments and ideas are warmly welcomed from the bottom of my heart!
by Xuan♥.

Interview with An Advanced-Level Chinese Learner-Part II

Again, happy interviewing time!

Hey there! Still remember our interview with the advanced-level Chinese learner Aaron Miller? Do you find his suggestions from my last post useful and effective for your Chinese learning?

Aaron with His Chinese Friends in Atlanta

Aaron with His Chinese Friends in Atlanta

Today I am back with more of his interview. Besides answering my questions, kind Aaron has also offered a list of online Chinese learning materials for you guys, which have been used all the time during his own Chinese study, which are free and easy to access for any Chinese learners. So please check this out!

Qo7. Do you have any other useful learning methods besides what the teachers use when they learning you and your classmates?

Q08. When there are no Chinese people around, how do you create Chinese environment for yourself?

Q09. What do you think is the most difficult part in your language learning (especially Chinese learning)?

Q10. Aaron, sometimes I feel that my English level goes back. The same thing has also happened to my mother tongue Chinese as well. How does that happen –  you lose a language, even your mother tongue?

Q11. Multi-language ability can be a huge advantage when one looks for a job. Since you can speak so many languages (ps. I know you are learning Taiwan dialect now), what kind of job do you expect to do in the future?

Q12. Since you’ve visited my blog, can you give me some suggestions to improve it as both a native English speaker and an advanced-level Chinese learner?

Well, Aaron said, this is how he creates his Chinese learning environment… 

Check this photo out!

Aaron with His Chinese Friends in Gainesville, Florida

Aaron with His Chinese Friends in Gainesville, Florida

Below is the “gift list” Aaron gave Chinese learners — a list of valuable online learning materials including instant translating websites/dictionaries, Chinese learning center with more than simply the words, radio station official websites with both English and Chinese versions.

Dictionaries: (Click the SCREENSHOT Icon for the website)

Chinese Learning Center: (Click the SCREENSHOT Icon for the website)

Radio Station Official Websites: (Click the SCREENSHOT Icon for the website)

Hope this “gift list” helps! Happy future Chinese learning!

Looking for more about Chinese learning?
Stay tuned in and don’t go away!
Your comments and ideas are warmly welcomed from the bottom of my heart!
by Xuan♥.

Reblog ` Maybe A Startup in Life?

Above is an encouraging post from Lock, Stock, and Barrel to share with you Chinese learnersI found it this morning in the freshly pressed posts. Many thanks to dghoang for his amazing insights on calling for a startup in life. The post does light my mind up. I also hope it can light up you guys’ Chinese learning.

A Light I got 5141 SW 91st Way Gainesville, FL

A Light to light up you guy’s Chinese learning.

A Light I got for you guys from 5141 SW 91st Way, Gainesville, FL.

I do agree with what dghoang said in the post that if one religiously  follow his passion, he will achieve success. This equally applies to Chinese learning. Stay passionate about this “so-called-difficult” language, don’t give up whenever you feel lost or depressed. Follow religiously you original goal of mastering Chinese. Stay tuned in Chinese learning environment. I don’t see one not going to master Chinese.

There will be light no matter how dark the sky is.

There will always be a beam of light no matter how dark the “sky” is.

A photo taken at 5141 SW 91st Way, Gainesville, FL.

Most of the time. For most people. The fact is that we are always afraid to let go of what we’ve achieved, even for a little while. However, will it hurt if we just put the achievements away and try a brand new startup?

I may be not able to tell you the answer right now. But I would love to hear from you guys, sharing your answers …

The Path to Chinese Learning

The Path to Mandarin Chinese!

A photo taken at 5141 SW 91st Way, Gainesville, FL.

Have you ever had a startup in your life?

Want to share that experience with us?

Your comments and ideas are warmly welcomed from the bottom of my heart!

by Xuan♥.

Interview with An Advanced-Level Chinese Learner-Part I

Generally speaking, knowing how to “fish” is usually more important than how many “fish” you get. In explanation, “method” is the key part in doing a lot of things, such as learning languages. It is also useful for you to know what other successful language learners do when they learn a new language or even several new languages. 

Aaron & His Favorite Sport, Bowling

Aaron & His Favorite Sport, Bowling

In today’s post, my friend Aaron Miller, an Asian-born-American, who is known as the “grammar editor” among the Chinese students, will share with us his experience learning Chinese, Cantonese and a little Korean.

As a native Chinese speaker, I was pretty surprised by Aaron’s Chinese level and his language talents at the first time when I met him and heard him speak. Here are the first part of recordings I got during the interview with him.

Q01. Aaron, can you greet our readers with the several languages you can speak?

Q02. Languages are usually considered as the indicators of different cultures. Since you are such an expert in learning foreign languages, I guess the readers must be really curious about what kind of background you come from that makes you so good at languages?

A Screen Shot of Aaron's Hometown, Angeles City, Philippines, on Google Map

A Screen Shot of Aaron's Hometown, Angeles City, Philippines, on Google Map

(Click the Above Image for Detailed Map)

Q03. What is the reason that made you choose Chinese as you major here in the University of Florida? Up till now, how long have you been a Chinese learner?

Q04. As a lot of Chinese learners complain, Chinese is one of the most difficult languages in the world. Do you think so as well? Do you have your own method to conquer this problem?

Q05. Who teaches (or taught) you Chinese? Where do they come from? What kind of learning materials have you been using? 

Here are the screenshots for the textbooks Aaron has been using for his Chinese study.

Textbook for Level II

Textbook for Level II

Textbook for Level I

Textbook for Level I

Qo6. At the baby level of your Chinese, how did your teacher(s) do to guide your learning tour? And what method are you using at this level?

“Just have fun with it” is what impressed me the most in Aaron’s talking. Indeed. Interest is the most necessary and effective motivation in doing and succeeding in one thing. One will never do something well if he finds the thing boring. Neither can he do it well if he “hates” the thing. 

So, play with Chinese and try to get the most fun out of it. If you can manage to do that, you will make a good Chinese learner.

Please come back and check out for the second part of my interview with the advanced-level Chinese learner, Aaron Miller!

A Quiet Corner at 5141 SW 91st Way, Gainesville, FL.

A Quiet Corner at 5141 SW 91st Way, Gainesville, FL.

Got more interesting stories of Chinese learners or your own experience learning Chinese to share with us?
Know more useful and efficient ways of Chinese learning?
Your comments and ideas are warmly welcomed from the bottom of my heart!
by Xuan♥.

Series Post on Driving: Part II. How to say “Ticket” in Chinese?

√ Are you guys good drivers?

√ Have you ever been ticketed because of illegal parking or not obeying the traffic rules?

√ Do you still remember the Chinese saying for “driver’s license” from my last post?

√ What’s more, do you want to know how to say a “ticket” in Chinese?

Registration Plates in F.L. & N.Y.

Registration Plates in F.L. & N.Y.

No matter where you are, illegal driving behaviors or habits will end up getting yourself a “ticket”. That’s Never good. Today you will learn how to say a “ticket” in Chinese.

Since you guys have already got the common things one needs to do to get his driver’s license in China and the U.S. in the last post, I will go on with the DIFFERENCES part of driving test now as I promised last time.

Differences in Taking A Driving Test in China and the U.S.

A STOP Sign

A STOP Sign

(What I want to stress in particular here is that my experience of taking the driving test in the U.S only applies to the test rules in the state of Florida. You guys may find something different from your place since different states have their own rules regulating the driving test. )

1. The Road test. 

After the written test, one also has to pass the road test before you get your driver’s license.

In China, we actually have two parts in the road test section: the first part is the “court test”, which refers to the test that the want-to-be drivers take the driving test in the test court of the DMV; the second part is actually the REAL “road test” since the test-takers need to take the test by driving the car on the highway.

However, the road test in the U.S. only doesn’t incorporate the second part we mentioned above. The test takers can get their driver’s license as long as they survival the test court road test.

2. The Traffic School.

The traffic schools in the U.S. is recommended where as the traffic schools in China is mandatory, since the Chinese want-to-be drivers can only schedule the written and road test in a traffic school.

3.  Scheduling A Test Appointment. 

The want-to-be drivers can schedule a written test, or both the written and the road test online (Click Here for the official website of DMV in Florida) and in the traffic schools as well.

Please refer to the next section “The Test Schedule,” for the test scheduling in China.

4.  The Test Schedule. 

In the U.S., the want-to-be drivers can schedule and take both the written and road test in one day (the written test in the morning and the road test in the afternoon), as long as they think they are well prepared.

However, people in China must take their written test at least half a month earlier than the road test. What’s more, if the period between one’s written test and the road test is longer than 2 years, his original written test score will be invalid and he has to retake the written test again.

5.  Vehicles Used in the Test. 

In China, the vehicles used in the driving test are provided by the DMV; whereas the test-takers in the U.S. need to provide vehicles themselves when they take the driving test.

Interesting, huh?

I am always excited about discovering all these fascinating cultural differences, which is also the fun part during language learning. Hope you enjoyed today’s lesson.

Test Court in DMV in Gainesville, FL

Test Court in DMV in Gainesville, FL

Got more interesting experience preparing for your driver’s license or taking the driving test to share with us?

Know more about taking a driving test in other states in the U.S.?

Your comments and ideas are warmly welcomed from the bottom of my heart!

by Xuan♥.